Just a week ago the the P5+1(+0.5) and the Islamic Republic of Iran signed a deal to limit the IR of Iran’s nuclear facilities, production capabilities, and potential to develop a nuclear weapon / limitations on the potential to have a nuclear weapons programme. To celebrate this agreement, I would like to offer a photo of The Holy Diamond, a quick assessment of the agreement, and finally a creative touch to wrap it all up.
Just a note, the P5 are the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the One is Germany, and the 0.5 is the European Union. It means that basically three countries (UK, France, and Germany) get double representation… Now is that fair?
The Holy Diamond Kindle Version in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
When 10,000 Nukes are More Than Zero
Did you ever hear of the SALT I, SALT II, START I, START II, and New START Treaties? These are all nuclear weapons treaties signed between the US and USSR and then US and Russia. Not all of them were ratified. But some of them were or otherwise they were respected without ratification – and they all included the USSR/Russia keeping nuclear weapons. And not just one or a dozen, but thousands! If you think the Iranian deal was bad, then how does the US-USSR/Russia deal sound?
The Iranian deal permits ZERO nuclear weapons, and no nuclear weapons programmes. Critics say that Iran could still produce nuclear weapons, but how many and how good would they be? Certainly less than the 6000 warheads the 1991 START I treaty permitted, or the 1600 that the New START allows. The Iran nuclear agreement lets the US and all Western countries maintain whatever nuclear weapons stockpile, deployed and in storage, that they wish. How is this a bad deal for USA?
*Note: figures are approximated for simplicity
Conflicts – diplomatic, military, personal and business – are resolved through negotiation. Sometimes in a situation of great imbalance, and sometimes to the great displeasure of one party. While the Allies in World War II defeated both Germany and Japan in absolute terms, and had demanded unconditional surrender, the actual surrenders were in fact negotiated, and agreements were made. About how U-Boats could surrender, about territory, about reparations, about how troops would surrender, etc. It was not, “You have lost the war and therefore you are subject to Allied command for eternity”.
But more often agreements are the product of negotiation wherein each side gives up something, gets something, and keeps something. Negotiations simply do not work if one side demands more than the other side will give – and that side has the power not to give it.
Proponents of the Iran nuclear deal say that this was the best deal the P5+1 could get. Critics – many of them well-meaning and who pose fair and reasonable questions – want a deal that involved Iran having zero nuclear material production facilities, zero uranium enrichment, and to a lesser extent a wholesale surrender of Iran’s entire foreign policy and security priorities from Hezbollah to Syria’s President Assad. Unfortunately for them, Iran was and is in a position to say no to such a demand. It would be like walking into a store where things are on sale but the company is fully solvent and say, “give me everything here for just one percent of the listed price.” You might be able to negotiate some price reductions, but there will be a limit.
It was clear that the sanctions were not going to last forever as businesses and other powers became impatient with the process and negotiations. The US and some Western countries – and maybe even all of them – might have been able to maintain a strict sanctions regime, but the other half of the world that includes Africa, Asia, and Russia, would probably be able to sell whatever they wanted to to Iran sooner than later.
To conclude this rushed and ineloquent analysis, the West got the best deal it could. They got a Persian silk carpet for half price – that is paying more than nothing but this was never going to happen, but it is less than paying full price. And they didn’t get burned in a carpet store fire of their own making, which might have happened if negotiations collapsed and the West locked itself into an expensive and futile military conflict. Iran will have a much harder time developing nuclear weapons – if it even wants to – and if the former Persian empire does so, it will be in violation of an agreement which the entire world has signed or at least witnessed.
And the West got a better deal than what they have negotiated with USSR/Russia in the course of forty-plus years. Critics of the Iran nuclear deal need to recall that successful nuclear negotiations with Russia or the then-USSR meant weapons reduction and parity. The Iran nuclear deal means zero for Iran, and still 3000 for USA (plus the UK and French arsenals).
How is this a bad deal?